Members of Nahalat Shalom are fortunate that they can enjoy live Jewish music at many functions and services performed by 2 in-house bands: The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band & Alavados Holy Days Ensemble. Our congregation's Yiddish dance troupe "Rikud" also leads traditional Jewish dances to the music of these great bands.
Alavados - Holy Days Ensemble
Alavados Holy Days Ensemble is comprised of Nahalat Shalom's musical director & cantor Beth Cohen (guitar, violin and vocals) and congregation members Barbara Friedman (electric bass), with violinists Jeff Brody and Gabrielle Rosen, flutist Ilene Dunn, clarinetist Clem Wings, percussionist Robin Berman and trombonists Neal Weinberg and JoAnn Rice. Since 1999, Alavados has provided beautiful accompaniment for our congregational prayers, songs and dances during Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur, S'lichot, Der Freylekher Shabbes, Chanukat Shabbat, Tu B'shevat, Purim, Shavuot services and many other special events and services at Nahalat Shalom including the 2013 Festival Djudeo-Espanyol concert with Cantor Neil Manel Frau-Cortes. The ensemble also performs locally including a performance for OASIS Albuquerque on January 30, 2015. All of the musicians in Alavados are also members of The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band.
The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band
The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band (NSCKB) is one of THE WORLD'S OLDEST (since 1995) and LARGEST (22 members and growing) INTER-GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY klezmer mixed orchestra! The band is taught and directed by Nahalat Shalom's cantor and music director Beth Cohen, who has a lifetime of experience (we won't say how long, but it's long!) as a music teacher to all ages and levels of students, as a world music and classical music performer, and as a band, choir and orchestra director. Over the years, the NSCKB has learned and performed a repertoire of exciting, lively and beautiful klezmer, Jewish, Israeli, Sephardic & Eastern European dance music that ALL levels and ages of musicians play, perform and enjoy.
The NSCKB performs professionally throughout New Mexico, at Nahalat Shalom's services and events including monthly der Freylekher Shabes services, and for public and private concerts and simches (joyous celebrations). Some band members are members of the congregation-and some are not, some are Jewish-and some are not: there are no special requirements to play in this band except for knowing the basics of one's instrument. The love that band members have for klezmer music reverberates throughout every performance and on the band's CD: "Lomir Alle Tantzen!-Let's All Dance!" Band members share a unique camaraderie, and are drawn to klezmer music for a variety of reasons: its beauty, its exotic sounding scales and modes, its technical challenges, its emotional and joyous nature, the connection it makes to Jewish roots and ancient traditions, and the opportunities it gives them to perform together and to play for dancing.
The NSCKB hosts the 'open to all ' klezmer JAM from 8-9pm during Nahalat Shalom's monthly 'Der Freylekher Shabbes' which is held on the first Friday of each month (and occasionally on the 2nd Friday) from 6:30-9pm. Check the web site calendar and join us for an old-country heimishe (homey) celebration! ALL are welcome to all or any part of the evening's celebrations: 6:30pm- Old-country danced, sing-a-long Shabbat service with live music by Alavados and Cantor Beth Cohen; 7:15pm-Vegetarian potluck dinner; 8-9pm- 'Open-to-ALL' Klezmer JAM with The NSCKB and more recreational folk dancing led by Rikud dancers.
Click here for the CURRENT (Winter/Spring 2018) Klezmer Band Rikud Dance schedule of rehearsals and events - please check the on-line calendar and with band director for last minute changes before coming to a rehearsal for the first time.
To Buy The Band's CD for $10.00, contact Beth Cohen at email@example.com
A photo of members of The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band who performed for the ABQ Open Space Concert Series at Elena Gallegos Picnic grounds, August 2013:
Front Row L to R: Claudia Flugge, Gabrielle Rosen, Lisa Powell, Beth Cohen,
Tony Fajdiga z'l, David Willet, Nancy Terr.
Back Row L to R: Ginny Gins, Randi Thompson, Barbara Friedman, Robin Berman, Rebecca Salazar, Clem Wings, Patsy Gregory, Ilene Dunn, Joanie Bowden.
Current band members missing from photo: Jeff Brody-violin, Neal Weinberg-trombone, John Karon-trumpet and JoAnn Rice-trombone.
Photo Credit to: Kathleen Smith 2013
Rikud Dance Troupe
Rehearsing together on Sunday afternoons from 2-4pm, The NSCKB began and grew alongside Nahalat Shalom's community Yiddish dance troupe Rikud. Sharing the joy of community dance, Rikud leads dancing at Congregation Nahalat Shalom and at public performances and workshops with the NSCKB. Beginners, intermediate and advanced dancers are all welcome to join in. Both groups study extensively with world renowned klezmer scholars, musicians and dancers at KlezmerQuerque -the internationally recognized annual festival of klezmer music & dance which is produced and organized by The NSCKB and Rikud.
The Rebbe’s Orkestra
The Rebbe’s Orkestra, is a popular professional concert and simcha ensemble that has been performing Judaic music throughout the southwest since 1995. In 2010, the band celebrated the release of its first CD 'Klezmer y mas" to widespread acclaim. Band members includes Nahalat Shalom's cantor and music director Beth Cohen (violin/ mandolin/tenor banjo/lead vocals), Barbara Friedman (electric bass/ tambura/vocals), Randy Edmunds (guitar/tambura/vocals), Debo Orlofsky (accordion/vocals), and Mary Masuk (percussion: pojk, snare drum, doumbek, riq, dajde, tar drum, wooden spoons & whistles). The Rebbe's Orkestra also performs and accompanies many of the special guest artists at the annual festival KlezmerQuerque, sharing the stage with klezmer luminaries such as Elaine Hoffman-Watts, Susan Hoffman, Margot Leverett, Michael Alpert, Jake Shulmen-Ment, Steven Weintraub and Adrianne Greenbaum. Beth, Barbara, and Randy have also performed & studied Balkan folk music extensively for over 30 years, and find the musical and community connections resonate in klezmer music. Barbara Friedman says, "I love these people and playing with them. I love the melodies and the different scales... and this music is connected to Middle Eastern and Balkan music. It feels like Jewish soul music. The most fun is playing for people to dance." Randy notes, "I think playing music brings people together as a community—this is something we have lost as a society. It gives people a chance to dance and be together in a way we don't get to much any more."
Our beloved and departed Sephardic cantorial soloist, Lorenzo Dominguez z'l (a.k.a. Lawrence Dominguez and Levy ben Macario), played guitar and sang with The Rebbe's Orkestra and also performed in and named Nahalat Shalom's holy days band "Alavados" (which means "supplications"). Lorenzo said that Jewish music connected him with the spiritual dimension: "The music enhances everything for me spiritually, makes the circle more complete. The Ladino (Sephardic) music is something I've been listening to for a long time, but now, learning the Klezmer music is deepening and completing my experience."
Enjoy The Rebbe's Orkestra at the Albuquerque Jewish Community Center Concert "Kindling the Lights" on Saturday, December 16 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm. For more information, download FLYER.